The Haunting of a Vacuum on the Internet – When Advertising Becomes Sinister

  Three weeks ago while vacuuming, our cheap Vax blew up. Two years isn’t too bad for a sub-£100 vacuum.

The wife bought a new Vax without my knowledge (clearly knowing I would have gone for the more expensive Dyson, because engineering!), but the assembly was down to me.

There was something about the design of the Vax cyclone that confused me. Where does the air go?

I Googled the unit and read some articles about how cyclone vacuums work and after a bit more inspection of our new vacuum my curiosity was satisfied as to how it was designed (hey, when you have to put every piece of it together, you might as well know how it works).

For the last two weeks, I’ve been stalked by adverts for this red Vax. It’s not even the model I searched for.

It’s appeared on news websites, music sites, and even within the Facebook app.

I’ve never found online ads to be that jarring, except when they are distasteful pop-overs, but this red vacuum has gotten to me.

Why does it bother me? I know why it appears. I’ve been tagged as having an interest in this vacuum and there is the impression that there is still a chance that upon seeing this advert I will buy it. But, I won’t. Because, I already have a new vacuum. It’s like I’m being stalked, or haunted by this thing. I have little power (save dumping the cache on my iPhone) to stop this.

If you want to attract trusting customers, don’t make them feel uncomfortable. There is a difference between getting in front of a customer’s eyes and making a customer feel like they want to make a purchase.

A flasher doesn’t make you want to sleep with them. But, they followed the same principle as this advert. They showed you the goods up front, with easy access to take advantage of the deal.

They just didn’t show any decency.

Advertisers should work harder on great marketing of great products, and media outlets should only run adverts that are tasteful.

You might say this argument is flawed, but if you run with those limitations, you will find a better solution where customers by products they trust via outlets they love. Again and again.

My example of advertising stalking is one of the reasons why ad-blocking software is coming up on the Apple agenda. Not only are these ads an invasion of privacy, but they are also a drain on battery life, processing power, and network bandwidth.

The cost of advertising has passed from the advertiser and onto the consumer in the form of our privacy and the speed and life of our own devices.

It’s time for advertising to have a kick in the teeth. It’s the lesson the industry deserves.